Social media

Major privacy bill approved in California

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

To prevent an even stronger privacy proposition from appearing on the ballot in the fall, the California legislators rushed through a bill providing strong  privacy rights for all California citizens. Companies making lots of money from the ‘net dislike the bill but supported it in order to derail the proposition.

(Cross posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.

Since the law doesn’t go into effect until 2020, there is plenty of time for the legislators to agree with the inevitable demands from tech companies to water down the bill. Pending the expected vast dilution, the bill provides a few landmark protections for consumers, including:

Danger lurks in cool tech tools

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Those cool tech tools we are all making such good use of, such as text messaging, tweets, DMs, and all other other tools I don’t even know about carry a hidden danger for CPAs.

The tools push us to have short, brief comments, that may or may not be retained.

Accounting work requires detail, precision, and full explanation along with documentation of the advice we give and positions we take.

Those super cool tools can set us up for trouble.

Journalist returns call to scammer who claimed to be from the IRS. Entertainment and laughter follows.

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Most people hang up on robocalls from charities. If there is a real person, I ask them to go into their spiel and then set the phone down, letting the caller waste a minute or two of their time.

William P. Barrett, writing at New To Seattle, actually takes those calls. He then dissects the charity’s financial statements showing the minimal amount of charity taking place in some organizations.

To the repeat offenders he awards the title of “America’s Stupidest Charities.”

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update, because the accountants reading this blog will find this story just as funny as I did.)

You probably know scammers have a new scheme of falsely claiming to be from the IRS. Their spiel is you’re just about to be arrested for failing to pay back taxes, the police are on the way to your home, but you can avoid going to jail today by settling up right now by sending money on a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.

Mr. Barrett called back to the number provided in a robocall. The person answering spoke poor English and sounded like he was calling from a boiler room.

He describes the call in his post, Scammers invoking the IRS inundate Seattle.

How did that conversation go? Quite entertainingly.

Thoughts on jumping into cloud computing

Bruce Schneier has a series of articles that ponder the risks and rewards of jumping into cloud computing. That is the concept of storing your data and computing power with an on-line service provider.

(This discussion is cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update, because the same issues apply in a CPA firm. You may find this discussion helpful for your clients who are pondering a jump to the cloud for major applications.)

Some things to consider:

6/10 – Schneier on Security – Should Companies Do Most of Their Computing in the Cloud? (Part 1) – The answer is complicated. The efficiencies and cost savings are real and a major advantage.

On the other hand, there may be legal issues, such as your government creates far higher privacy standards than the country where your data will be stored or another country places severe restrictions on data you store there. …

Get control of every domain that refers to your name, including all extensions

Back in 2013, I offered An illustration why you should gain control over your name on the ‘net, both through buying domain names and reserving your name at social media sights (oops, meant to say sites!).

To illustrate the concept that you should grab control over your name on the ’net, I pointed out a pro-Second Amendment activist who bought a domain and turned it into a pro-gun website to poke fun at an anti-gun politician.

The domain?


I just checked that address and found out it is a dead link. It used to be an advocacy site. However, the joke (if you are into such things) and the point (which is the reason for this post) stand.

In recent weeks, a politician from the opposite side of the aisle got zinged. She is former head of a large technology company. Someone grabbed a domain including her name and put up a one-page site criticizing how many people were laid off during her tenure.

The domain? …

Advice for young professionals that applies even more so to seasoned professionals

There is a lot of change around and the pace of change is increasing.

A friend of mine, Professor David Albrecht, has started a new blog, Skills for Young Professionals. His lead blog is The Summa.

I suggest to you the new blog is every bit as useful for seasoned professionals as for the young professionals.

Walk with me through the first three posts:

Introducing ‘Skills For Young Professionals’

Technical skills aren’t enough. Professionals need

Be careful on the ‘net. It is cruel and unforgiving. Draw wrong attention and you get dissected, then shamed.

If you are in any social media platform at all, you need to be really careful about what you say. You need to be cautious in saying things that are flippant or can be misunderstood.

CPAs need to be aware of the dangers. This article is cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.

The twitter shame mob

A PR manager from a company sent smart mouth tweets to her 170 followers. Sent a few before travelling to London. Checked her phone there, found no reaction, and sent a few more smarty-pants comments.

While on the 11 hour flight to Johannesburg, another person saw her tweet, and sent it to his 15,000 followers hinting the person was a bigoted racist.

You know where this is going. Oh, her extended family she was on her way to visit? They are all ANC supporters.

The attack tweet went viral.  By the time this person landed in South Africa, there was someone waiting to take pictures of her as she turned on her phone and saw the deluge. Huge numbers of people around the world were trashing her and visiting Orwell’s two minute hate on her.

Yet another embarrassing tech error – sending a text message to the wrong person

Double check who is getting your texts.

We’ve all heard the stories of hitting ‘reply all’ instead of ‘reply’ when discussing something in an e-mail that shouldn’t go to ‘all’.

Here’s a new oopsie I learned about personally but at low cost. (Cross posted from Nonprofit Update.)

11 bloggers you really oughta’ be following

In his New Year column, Jim Peterson gives a list of writers on accounting who you really should add to your RSS feed so you can read all they have to say:  Re:Balance – Welcome to a Happy New Year – Or Is It?

Before giving you the list, I’d like to summarize his first post of the year.

He begins by bemoaning the same-o same-o in accounting stories for the last few months of 2013. Seems like it is the same foolishness and silliness we’ve seen the whole year. Another multi-billion settlement from JPMorgan.  More blithering on accounting convergadoption. Blah, blah.

His knowledge of human nature leaves him optimistic the New Year will be brighter. It won’t take long for accounting & finance bloggers to have fresh examples of folly, mischief, break-downs, malfeasance, manipulators, and miscreants enough to keep everyone’s fingers dancing on the keyboard.

Alas, I agree.

It is amazingly easy to create video content

Tech tools available today make it easy for a novice to create usable videos. No one will confuse what you create with what comes out of Hollywood or Madison Avenue, but it won’t cost thousands of dollars per minute of content either.

To show how easy it is, I’ve accumulated several of my videos and briefly discussed them on my other blog, Outrun Change:


Here is my most popular video, with over 3,600 views:




Making videos is incredibly easy. I hope my simple efforts will encourage you to try it yourself.

Keep in mind I’m working with a point-and-shoot camera, have zero editing experience, and possess a level of creatively that is only slightly higher than the average accountant.

Equipment that is not cheapest on the market, some minimal experience, and measurable levels of creativity combined with the astounding tools available today would result in great video for your organization.

Jump in, the water’s fine!

Get started blogging. Do it for yourself, even if nobody ever reads anything you ever post.

Just the process of putting into words what you are thinking will produce tremendous growth. Actually thinking about what is going on around you, in your industry, or in the wider world will stretch you like nothing else.

Do it for yourself!

I have grown tremendously from writing on my blogs. Check out Seth Godin and Tom Peters making that point:




A few great lines: 

Workplace rules have changed – You need to take charge of your own career no matter where you work and no matter what your position

The rules for work have radically changed. The work world that existed when you started college, even if you graduated this spring, is gone.

If you are working, you need to take charge of your career and your reputation. This applies to brand new staff, experienced audit seniors, and especially partners.  People at every level of employment need to absorb that lesson.

Jenna Goudreau summarizes 14 Rules of the New Marketplace That Millennials Need to Master at Business Insider. My only disagreement with her is that these rules apply to everyone at every level, not just millennials.